You guys, I’ve been meaning to post this all week, literally. I wrote it last weekend.
But between getting my kids ready to go back to school, and watching heart-broken everything happening in Texas right now, I just couldn’t, you know?
But reading through what I wrote, it feels relevant, and I’d love for you to share any thoughts you have on the subject in the comments below…
It’s the start of a new school year, which honestly, is way more exciting/motivating and feels way more like a fresh start to me that the actual New Year, which means, setting new goals. (I was one of those annoying kids that actually LOVED the first day of school. And I mean loved. Like all the way through college. It was my favorite. My kids think I’m so annoying asking them a million times how excited they are to start school.)
But I digress.
I thought I would share with you one of my goals for this new (school) year.
Today I want to talk about self-care, because I think it’s something that a lot of us women have trouble with. Especially as mothers. But I think it’s really, really important to take care of yourself. There’s a reason when you get on an airplane they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. You can’t really help another person if you’re barely surviving. But we women are funny that way. We’re more likely to put the mask on everyone else first and then pass out from lack of oxygen.
I know, because as much as I want to be good about self-care, it’s something I really struggle with. Honestly, most days I put all self-care items last on my list, I work too late, and go to bed exhausted- completely rung out, only to wake up feeling like literal death. It’s not pretty, and it’s not really the way I want to live my life either. And it certainly doesn’t make me a better wife or mother. Feeling exhausted all the time, completely drained, does not a happy mom make.
It hit me the other day, that while I was getting by okay-ish on fumes, if anything major happened in our life, anything that required a little emotional, and mental stamina, I was not prepared to deal.
In my church we are taught that God wants us to " ‘prepare every needful thing’ so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors…" I feel like self-care is one of those needful things that we never think of or talk about when it comes to being prepared, but it’s like a 72 hour kit for your soul. How can you feed anyone when you’re starving yourself?
Self-care isn’t about being self-centered either. It’s about caring for our minds, bodies and souls, so that we can be good stewards of the gift God has given us, and so that we can be His hands on Earth.
The tricky part is making it happen. Cause there are so many things that need attention everyday, and these often crowd out the things that help us prepare to be and feel our best selves.
Something I am going to try and do, is to commit to certain self-care things and really stick to them. For me, the best way to do that is to keep it simple and sacred.
Let me explain.
If I overcomplicate things in my life, they don’t happen. With 4 kids, a business, a new (old) house we’re slowly remodeling, I’ve got to keep things simple, or else they don’t happen. And second is keeping to my commitments to myself, the way I’ve committed to other important parts of my life. So far, it’s working out, and I’m really starting to see a difference in how I feel, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
So here are my simple acts of self-care that I have committed to doing daily/weekly.
Getting ready everyday. I know not everyone is like this, but I feel terrible (like literal garbage) when I don’t get ready for the day. I get a little depressed, I’m not as effective (which makes me feel worse), I’m less patient, etc. etc. Even when I’m sick, I usually take a shower, and put a little makeup on, otherwise I feel worse. This is how I work, and I know that. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a little effort makes a world of difference.
Eat well. Sometimes I’m so busy feeding and taking care of my family that I don’t take the time to properly fuel my body. There are too many days to count where the first balanced meal I’ve had all day is dinner. And that’s only because I prepared it for my family. But I am better all around when I fuel my body with good wholesome foods. My trick for making it happen (when I’ve been good at it in the past) is thinking ahead before I grocery shop and then having 3-4 easy healthy meals I can whip up fast for breakfast and/or lunch.
Exercise everyday. I wrote a whole post on this early this month, and you can see how I make it happen. I am such a happier person when I work out, and I love how good I feel physically too.
Take time to unplug and reconnect. It’s hard when you work from home on your computer, not to become a mindless tech zombie. Turning it all off and spending quality uninterrupted, in-the-moment time with Craig and our kids is really important to me. I try to make sure I put it all away when they get home and really talk to them.
Get enough sleep. This will forever be a challenge for me because I am a terrible night-owl, but I’ve also learned in the last couple years that I can’t just stay up late every night and get up early and have it not affect me. For me, the key is picking a bed time and then making myself stop for the night. Still working on this one. (as I type this at 11:45pm)
Feed my spirit. Spending quiet time reading my scriptures, pondering eternal things and praying, always gets pushed aside by life. But it should be the most important thing I do everyday, and I’m trying to make it that way again. I think the key for me is putting in on my schedule and list, so I make sure to do it.
Treat myself. I think people who feel their own value, treat others better and recognize their value as well. It’s always been a challenge for me to value myself. To feel worthy of, well anything. One of the ways I’ve helped myself to feel that I am, is by treating myself. And for no other reason than I deserve it because I am a human being with intrinsic worth. It doesn’t have to be a big treat either. I like to buy myself flowers once a week because they make me happy, or let myself sit outside with a book or a home magazine for an hour and just read a little. A McDonald’s diet coke or a trip to the nail salon also do the trick and help me feel like I’m not just surviving, but thriving.
I mean, after all:
"Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." -Gordon B Hinckley
What do you do to practice self-care?
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